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A Man Fired Gun And Killed Himself In The Vicinity Of White House; Jared Kushner Is Accused Of Using White House Role For His Family Business' Advantage; FBI Is Now Investigating At One Of Ivanka Trump's International Business Deals; Mueller Investigation Is Getting Closer And Closer To The President's Inner Circle; Lawmakers In Washington Have Yet To Act On Immigration Reform; New Law In Oregon Has To Do With Gun Control Restrictions And Domestic Violence And Stalking Situations; Snowboarder Buried Alive By An Avalanche And Rescued. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired March 3, 2018 - 16:00   ET


[16:00:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Hello, on this Saturday, you are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Great to have you with us.

We have breaking news we are following right now. A terrifying few minutes at the White House. Gunfire erupting in a crowd of people right outside the fence surrounding the Presidential mansion.


CABRERA: Police officers and secret service agents rushed to the scene. They found one man dead. It appears he killed himself after firing several shots. And making this incident even more frightening, though, dozens of people were gathered at this spot just a few feet from the White House.

CNN's Ryan Nobles is at the scene for us.

Ryan, what more have you learned?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, things are a lot less tense here out front of the White House. The security perimeter has collapsed a little bit. They are not letting people in and out of Pennsylvania Avenue right now. That is still shut down. But they have opened up the roads around the White House. And they are letting some people in and out of the White House complex, depending on their security credentials.

But as you point out, this was a pretty harrowing morning and afternoon for many people around the White House. This is a very busy spot. This is a spot that many tourists come to check out the White House. And it was right before noon today where this individual came in front of the White House and fired multiple shots in an attempted suicide. That male was pronounced dead at the scene. At this point, we don't know who he is. But the secret service tells us they have identified him, but they are waiting to notify his next of kin before releasing his identity. An interesting wrinkle in the story, Ana, we spotted a vehicle on the

other side of where we are on 17th street over on 15th street, the other side of the White House complex. And this vehicle had Alabama plates on it. And law enforcement on the scene told us that they were investigating this vehicle if related to this incident. So we don't know whether or not the victim in this case, whether or not it was his vehicle, but we know that a bomb squad investigating the contents of the vehicle. They pulled information out of that vehicle as part of this investigation.

Now, the other thing we need to point out, Ana, is that the President and the first lady were not in the White House when the shooting took place. They were in Florida. They are en route back to Washington, D.C. tonight for the annual gridiron club dinner at which the President will speak. He is expected to arrive in Washington in the next hour or so. But at no time were anyone who lives in the White House or works in the White House in any type of risk, according to secret service. And also, secret service tells us none of their officers discharged a weapon, and none of their officers were hurt.

So at this point, only one victim. It was that person who committed suicide. But no doubt, on a busy, sunny Saturday afternoon in front of the White House with, as you mentioned, dozens of tourists, certainly, a scary event here today in the nation's capital-- Ana.

CABRERA: Yes. That will shake you, no doubt about it. Ryan Nobles, thank you.

Now today's shooting outside the White House caps off a very chaotic week in Washington. Let me remind you what has happened in just the last five days.

Jared Kushner's security clearance was downgraded, meaning the White House calligrapher now has access to more classified information than he does.

Trump attacked attorney general Jeff Sessions again. And Sessions pushed back this time. We learned that national security adviser H.R. McMaster could leave his position by the end of the month.

White House communications director Hope Hicks first testified that she sometimes tells white lies for the President. And then she announced she was resigning the very next day. Still unclear, though, if that resignation is connected in any way to her testimony.

Now, we also found out that FBI counterintelligence officials are investigating one of Ivanka Trump's business deals. And her husband's business ties could make him vulnerable, too. "The Washington Post" says officials from at least four countries discussed ways to exploit Kushner.

HUD secretary Ben Carson, meantime, had to apologize after buying a $31,000 dining room set with taxpayer money.

And finally, Trump made off the cuff remarks that rattled not only his own party but in some cases members of his own administration. First, he suggested officials should take people's guns and ignore due process. And then he announced tariffs on steel and aluminum, sending the stock market into shock. This apparently upset his chief economic adviser Gary Cohn so much he threatened to resign.

So even by Trump White House standards, this is a lot. I want to take a closer look at just one of these stories now. It is a CNN exclusive. Sources confirming the FBI is now investigating at one of Ivanka Trump's international business deals, specifically negotiations and financing surrounding Trump international hotel and tower in Vancouver, Canada. Now, the extra attention could make it harder for the President's daughter to get that full security clearance she needs as a Presidential adviser. And all of this comes as the White House defends her husband, Jared Kushner after "the New York Times" reported his family businesses scored $500 million in loans after Kushner personally met with lenders at the White House.

CNN money's Cristina Alesci is joining us now.

Cristina, there is so much here. You have been digging into all of it. What are you finding?

[16:05:09] CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jared Kushner and his family's businesses really leave Jared Kushner exposed to several allegations. One, that he is conflicted. Two, that he is profiteering from the White House. And as you mentioned in your intro, that he's subject to foreign influence. And this cloud that's hanging over Jared Kushner is unlikely to dissipate why was he - he is in the White House and possibly beyond that. Listen.


ALESCI (voice-over): This Chicago skyscraper is majority owned by Jared Kushner and his family. Mortgage documents show a fund link to New York City private equity power house Apollo Global Management, provided them with $184 million mortgage for the building.

Apollo was founded by Josh Harris. Months earlier, that same executive was in talks with the White House about an advisory role, according to a source with knowledge of the discussions. Jared stepped down as CEO of his family's business, Kushner companies, since going to Washington. But questions of conflicts still persist.

Also at the White House, Jared met with Citibank CEO Michael Corbett last year. Around the same time, Citibank made a $325 million loan to Kushner companies and its partners.

Spokespeople for both Apollo and Citibank said their executives were not involved in granting those loans.

NOAH BOOKBINDER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBILITY AND ETHICS IN WASHINGTON: You also have to worry about whether he has an incentive to use his official power, to use the power of the White House, to help people that he has business relations with.

ALESCI: A Kushner company spokesperson said there was nothing inappropriate. And stories like these attempt to make insinuating connections that do not exist to disparage the financial institutions and the companies involved.

Just last week, CNN reported that special counsel Robert Mueller is inquiring about Kushner approaching foreign investors during the transition, including a Chinese insurance company and a Qatari investor for the family's biggest bet, 666 Fifth Avenue. The building hasn't generating enough profit to cover its debts.

HITEN SAMTANI, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DIGITAL THE REAL DEAL: $1.8 billion was a record price for a Manhattan skyscraper. It was a highly, highly leveraged deal, which means the income in the building wasn't close to covering what they would have to pay in interest. So it was a deal that a lot of people say was doomed from the start.

ALESCI: About $1.2 billion in debt on the tower comes due next year. But sources say that negotiations with lenders and new sources of capital need to start soon. Kushner companies confirmed it's in talks to buy out its partner in the project, but the question remains, how will they pay for it? When asked by CNN, they declined to comment.

SAMTANI: They are always looking for loans and construction loans and development loans and acquisition loans. So I would say it's an active business.

ALESCI: Kushner companies also needs to find investors for a development in Jersey City. The company scuttled a plan to use a government program that would help foreigners get U.S. visas in exchange for investment after Jared's sister was reportedly referencing him during a presentation in China.

Another deal raising questions, "The New York Times" reported that Kushner companies received $30 million from one of Israel's largest financial institutions just before Jared's first diplomatic trip to the country.

Last week, "the Washington Post" reported officials from at least four countries, Mexico, Israel, China, and the United Arab Emirates, discussed ways to manipulate Jared because of his family's finances. The constant search for capital, which is normal for any real estate firm, cast a cloud over Jared's White House role, because like his father-in-law, he has refused to fully divest from his holdings.


ALESCI: Ana, during the transition, sources told me that Jared Kushner and his advisers were trying to reassure ethics officials in Washington that these real estate deals that he was holding onto, that they were boring, that they were static. They were inactive. But these examples really show how that couldn't be further from the truth. And they also add, you know, ammunition to those who say that he should have never been allowed in the White House to begin with.

CABRERA: Cristina Alesci, thank you for bringing it all together for us because there are so many little details there. Let's discuss more with Walter Shaub, the former director of the U.S.

office of government ethics for President Obama and part of the Trump administration as well.

Thank you, sir, for being with us. Lots to unpack. What concerns you most about what Cristina just reported?

WALTER SHAUB, FORMER DIRECTOR, U.S. OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT ETHICS: Well, I think as Cristina highlighted, these are not static, boring investments. And to have a senior adviser to the President hold on to them is creating significant risk of overlap between his official activities and his family's business activities. And remember that he stayed invested in a number of these entities.

In addition, some of the entities he divested, his lawyers talked to the press and admitted that they sold them to a trust for his family. And so it's not as though he sold them off to a third party. I mean, of course, he can't always control what his family's going to do or what they own, but he contributed to the ongoing optics problem by selling to them rather than a third party.

And so you have a deeply entwined with these kind of activities that involve trying to get financing from major lenders or doing business deals or getting lending or partners with overseas interests. And it's just a recipe for conflicts of interest. You don't tend to see that in the White House.

Top officials tend to empty out their assets. Certainly even in this administration, you can look at Gary Cohn or Dina Powell, who are very wealthy, and you look at their financial disclosure reports, and they took a lot of steps to resolve potential conflicts of interest. You just don't have that with Jared Kushner.

[16:11:05] CABRERA: So there is the optics here. Nobody can, I think, argue that the optics aren't good. But according to Kushner's lawyer, he hasn't had business dealings or role in the Kushner companies since joining the government. So is it possible that all this could just be a coincidence in terms of the timing of loans to his family's company and meetings that he had with foreign businesses as well as foreign officials?

SHAUB: Well, it's partly untrue and it's more than that a red herring. And the part that's untrue is that if you look at his financial disclosure report, you will see that he admits that he simply forgot to quit some of the positions. And so, he was actually still an officer or board member on some of these entities that he had promised to quit.

CABRERA: So do you say that his lawyers are lying or being disingenuous in their statement?

SHAUB: No, I think they are parsing their words carefully. They're saying he hasn't been actively involved. And so they are portraying the fact you're still an official with a company as a meaningless thing. But you know, the reality is he didn't quit the positions, and that certainly creates more of a nexus to those entities. But even beyond that and the reason that I say it's a red herring is

that what creates the conflict of interest concern is not your active daily control of the company. But your investment in the company. And they don't deny that he has continued to stay invested in a lot of these companies. And so then the question shifts to, well, let's look to see if it's a conflict of interest because we know the interest in this company. The conflict of interest comes from participating in matters that can affect those financial interests or are motivated by those financial interests. The two issues are either criminal conflict of interest statute or misuse of position for your own companies or your family's companies.

And of course, there's all the reporting about the issues involving the blockade in Qatar, where you know, his family apparently was seeking help from them and when it fell through, suddenly, the United States dramatically changed its position on a key Middle East ally in an incredibly complex conflict overseas. And the question then becomes, well, was that the product of legitimate policy deliberations, or was that motivated by personal greed and it desire to help your own family and your own financial interests? And that's either the case, and it's terrible or it's the optics.

And so the bottom line is, we shouldn't have to ask that question because normally a top assistant to the President wouldn't have the kind of financial interests that would lead us to have to ask those questions.

CABRERA: Now, we also learned this week the FBI is looking into Ivanka Trump's international business ties. Specifically that Trump international hotel and tower in Vancouver, which Cristina told us all about. But apparently, this is what's holding up her White House security clearance. I'm not sure we have had people in the White House that have had such complicated finances before, but should it be disqualifying?

SHAUB: Well, she is another one who has been allowed to keep a number of significant financial interests. And I think in both her case and Jared Kushner's case, what should be disqualifying is that they are related to the President. The 2.7 million civilian federal employees are not permitted to engage in nepotism, but the President got the department of justice to change basically a half century old view on nepotism and the interpretation of the nepotism law to say it's OK for him to hold himself to a lower standard than all of the people he oversees in the government.

That alone should have been disqualifying. That was the original sin here. And everything has flowed from that because we can surmise it was nepotism that led this President to let Jared and Ivanka keep more assets than you normally see White House appointees keep because we can compare them to other appointees even in this White House who were not allowed to keep these kinds of things.

And so naturally, again, she is having the same problems that Jared has, that when you have these types of deals that involve entanglements with foreign interests, that's going to flag issues that have to be looked into in your security clearance. Now, as her attorneys point out, maybe the investigation will produce nothing and there won't actually be a concern, but it complicates the process at a minimum.

[16:15:31] CABRERA: Right. Walter Shaub, thank you.

SHAUB: Thanks.

CABRERA: Amid the White House chaos, the Mueller investigation is getting closer and closer to the President's inner circle. Trump once said that looking into his family's finances would cross a red line. So does that explain his erratic behavior this week?

That's next in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[16:19:56] CABRERA: President Trump warned Robert Mueller to stay away from his finances saying digging into them would cross a red line. But Mueller doesn't seem to care. According to three sources, Mueller is asking witnesses about Trump's business activities in Russia before the Presidential campaign. Several of the questions have specifically revolved around Trump's trip to Moscow in 2013 for the Miss Universe pageant. Donald Trump Jr. has testified that talks to build a Trump tower Moscow began after that pageant. And Trump himself tweeted as much. He wrote this in 2013. (INAUDIBLE), I had a great weekend with you and your family. You have done a fantastic job. Trump tower Moscow is next.

I want to bring in my panel for analysis. With me now, CNN national security analyst Samantha Vinograd. White House correspondent for the "Washington Examiner" Sarah Westwood, and CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor, Michael Zeldin.

So Sam, why would Trump's business deals in Moscow before the election be of interest to Mueller?

[16:20:55] SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I think that we have seen a pattern over several years of President Trump engaging in a lot of activities with Moscow. All roads seem to lead to Russia when we talk about President Trump. And it seems like all of this is just a little bit too coincidental.

Now, from an operational standpoint, I think that Mueller would be interested in whether President Trump was completely forthcoming about all of the details of his trips to Russia, about his foreign business contacts, about any business deals that he engaged in, because Ana, we discussed this before, but misreporting or failing to disclose these kinds of key details opens up a target like President Trump to manipulation or bribery. It means that a foreign country, in this case, Russia, may have more information than the U.S. government, and that's a big counterintelligence risk.

CABRERA: So Sarah, Mueller clearly crossing that red line regarding the finances. This red line that the President set last summer when he told him not to look into his finances. What is the President going to do? SARAH WESTWOOD, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Well,

I think that you could make a political case that Mueller hasn't crossed that line, just because the finances that he's probing are directly related to Russia. So those could conceivably fall within the mandate that Rod Rosenstein gave him when he appointed him as special counsel.

Now if Robert Mueller were to move even deeper into President Trump's business background and probe deals that had nothing to do with Russia that were far in President Trump's past, then I think he could count on the support of at least some congressional Republicans if he were to try to make a political case against Mueller going that far.

I don't think Trump would have many allies, though, if he tried to push back on Mueller probing things that are pretty well within the scope of his investigation.

CABRERA: Michael, I want to read a few lines from our CNN reporting. The source said investigators were interested in logistics surrounding Trump's hotel room in Moscow, who was there, who would have access to it, who was in charge of security, who was moving around with him during this trip. Again, talking about 2013 and that miss universe pageant. Does this mean Mueller might believe some of those salacious claims, the more salacious claims in the dossier?

MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it's hard to know what Robert Mueller is believing or not, but what appears to be is that he's taking his mandate of conducting a counterintelligence investigation seriously. And if part of that mandate includes determining whether or not the President -- now President, then candidate Trump was vulnerable to some form of blackmail, then he has to look into those types of charges. He may not be crediting them, but he has to write a report at the end of his investigation which says these are my findings. And I think he would like to be able to resolve that issue so that we can put it to rest one way or the other.

VINOGRAD: And Ana, on this question of the communications at were used in 2013, I remember going to Moscow several times, and you never use a phone there because you know that everything is tapped and the government is monitoring absolutely everything that you do. And so I think that if in fact the communications systems are being looked at, it's likely an effort to figure out whether President Trump, then in his private capacity, was subject to surveillance while he was in Moscow. And if in any way that continued over the coming years.

CABRERA: Let me ask about Jared Kushner and some of the new reporting regarding his foreign interactions this week. "the Washington Post" reporting officials from at least four countries, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Israel, and China, discussed ways to exploit the President's son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner. How would a foreign official do that exactly, Sam?

VINOGRAD: I think that one of the cardinal rules of counterintelligence is don't open yourself up to bribery, right? And that's why when I was at the White House, I didn't accept a pen without clearing it with the ethics team. And from the reporting that we have heard, foreign intelligence services may have targeted Jared Kushner because of his inexperience, and looked at what they know he likes to spend his time on, which is business. And if in fact Jared Kushner mixed business with pleasure, he was opening himself up to bribery.

Bribery is not always a case of someone showing up with a bag of money and saying take this and do what we want. It could be something as simple as a Qatari businessman saying we will invest in your property if you continue to talk to us, and implying perhaps tacitly that Jared Kushner should pursue policies that are complementary to Qatar. So this quit pro quo is something you want to always want to avoid if you want to avoid counterintelligence traps.

[16:25:33] ZELDIN: Right.

CABRERA: There are some finances that have come into -- under scrutiny. Go ahead, Michael.

ZELDIN: I was going to say in support of what Samantha said, really its influence. Are you susceptible to being influenced because of private business imperatives at the expense of public need? And we saw that particularly in Qatar, where Jared Kushner is reported to have sought financing for his most troubled property, 666 Fifth Avenue, directly from the Qataris just before there was the big dust- up with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, where the relations between the United States and Qatar seemed to have broken down as a consequence. Those things occurred back-to-back. There's not necessarily causality there, but the appearance of that creates lots of problems and subjects Jared to influence potentially.

CABRERA: And it's also subjecting Jared and this White House to more negative headlines, Sarah. And we have some reporting this week that Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump could be -- their future could be in question, even with the President himself. At what point is this going to cross the line for the President to say it's time for them to go?

WESTWOOD: Well, the question becomes, as Jared Kushner's business ties come under scrutiny, is what utility Kushner is continuing to provide to the President. Because now that his clearance has been downgraded, presumably his portfolio is going to need to be reduced. He doesn't have access to the top secret information, and already we're hearing that he is being excluded from those Presidential daily briefings.

He has fewer allies within the White House with the departure of Hope Hicks and Josh Raffel, both of who were favorable to Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump and often works on their behalf. And now his business dealings are becoming a political liability for President Trump. So the question becomes what service is he really providing given all of those factors that are working against him? And you are right. We are seeing more and more reporting that President Trump is maybe increasingly uncomfortable with the position that his children are putting him in.

CABRERA: Samantha Vinograd, Sarah Westwood, Michael Zeldin, thank you.

A couple of big legal victories for DACA this week, as lawmakers in Washington have yet to act on immigration reform. So how do dreamers and others living in a border town see the immigration debate? We will take you to El Paso, Texas, next.

Live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



[16:32:22] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What about a clean DACA bill now? And with a commitment that we go in to a comprehensive immigration reform procedure?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are going to do DACA and then we can start immediately on the phase two which would be comprehensive --.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you be agreeable to that?

TRUMP: Yes, I would like that. I think a lot of people would like to see that, but I think we have to do DACA first.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, you need to be clear, though. I think what senator Feinstein is asking here, when we talk about just DACA, we don't want to be back here two years later. You have to have security.


CABRERA: Remember that? Back in January. That was a bipartisan White House meeting when President Trump said he is definitely open to a clean bill aimed at protecting the children of undocumented immigrants, the so-called Dreamers. Well, here it is, we are into March already. There's no such bill yet. The White House blames Congress.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We are still hopeful that something happens on this and Congress will actually do its job.


CABRERA: Congress tried to do its job with bipartisan DACA bills introduced to the House and the Senate last month. They both failed. I put Washington far behind me to talk to the people whose lives are directly impacted by the outcome of this debate in a border town, El Paso, Texas. Watch this.


CABRERA: Does it upset you, Victor, personally, that Congress has not taken action on immigration?

VICTOR ERRVES, DACA RECIPIENT: It does not upset me. I actually do agree that there needs to be some security in some areas because some lives are in danger. But I come from the perspective that, you know, our parents came in here with permission. And we just overstayed. So we didn't cause any harm. We didn't threaten anybody. So we just came here in search of a better future, and that was it.

HANS SASSENFELD, EL PASO, TEXAS RESIDENT: My father-in-law came to the United States as part of the Prosero program. He is a farmer. He helped out in the farms. OK, so he did it the right way. And he tells a story about where he kept his money until he got $300, $400. He paid a lawyer in El Paso. They flew him to Mexico City. He got his green card and came over. And that's how my wife came over. But they did it the right way.

CONNIE VASQUEZ, EL PASO, TEXAS RESIDENT: And I understand that. But for the Dreamers, they didn't have a choice. You know, you have to follow your parents, and you have no say so whatsoever. You just have to follow your parents and that's it. And you are stuck with the situation whether you like it or not. And that's your case, correct?

V. ERRVES: Absolutely.

CABRERA: So should your parents still be here? I know they have recently gotten citizenship because you were able to sponsor them.


CABRERA: For a lot of people who are on the other side of the issue say that may not have been fair.

[16:35:00] L. ERRVES: Well, I mean, my parents -- I mean, I'm sure you are aware, they are disabled. They are deaf. So it all goes back. They came to the United States because Mexico wasn't offering deaf people what they offer here in the United States as far as interpreters, free education for them. My parents came to America not knowing how to read or write because Mexico didn't offer that to them, you know.

So coming here, you know, they knew that there were all these benefits for people with disabilities. So then luckily, I was born, you know, and they thought, this is our daughter, this is our only hope. As soon as I turned 21, that's when I petitioned for both of them. And I feel like it is fair because I feel like they deserve it. My dad always paid taxes. You know, he always did the right thing. He never was in jail. He was never doing anything crazy. You know, and I'm speaking for my family, you know. I can't speak for the rest of the families, but I feel like as far as my parents, I was happy to petition for them because you deserve it. You were here as a Mexican, but we are acting like an American, with American dreams.

CABRERA: So now in your family, you are the only person who doesn't have citizenship?

V. ERRVES: Right. CABRERA: Why couldn't you sponsor him?

V. ERRVES: Well, see, so she can. So that I fall in a different priority group. Like we are here, we agree, we are a nation of laws. I'm a law-abiding citizen in my own way. I'm going to school. I have no social assistance. I'm paying out of my own pocket. I have an option as a sign language interpreter. I pay taxes. From the day I started working to as we speak, present day, I have been giving back.

VASQUEZ: How many immigrants are paying taxes and then they are not going to see the benefits of it if you just deport them and that's it. You know, that's not fair either.

CABRERA: What about that, Hans?

SASSENFELD: Well, I think if they pay taxes, they should be able to reap some of that, but they have to become citizens first.

CABRERA: There's a lot of people, though, who are now in this space where they are paying taxes, but they have been here and been undocumented. And so they don't have a pathway into the legal immigration system at this point. What are they to do?

SASSENFELD: They always have a pathway into the legal system by applying. But as long as they don't apply, then they are going to be on the outside.

CABRERA: But the truth is, it's not that simple.

SASSENFELD: No, it's not simple. I'm just saying, you can't --

V. ERRVES: If that were true, DACA wouldn't be in this moment a topic. If there was an application for us young, you know, Americans to come in and become a U.S. citizen, we would have done it. We have exhausted all resources, trust me. We are not just people who twiddle our thumbs and wait for Congress to do something.

CABRERA: What is going to happen with DACA? Nobody knows. The President made a self-imposed deadline of March 5th, which --

L. ERRVES: Already here, basically.

V. ERRVES: A couple days. Yes. You know what. So it comes back to that. My future is uncertain. But this is why I'm here. I lay my voice to the politicians. And I tell them, you know, whether it be immigration or what stance you have, you know, have some sympathy towards children who were brought here. That's all I ask. This is all we know.


CABRERA: I have to say, it was refreshing to have different opinions coming together, talking to each other instead of at each other or in their own, you know, little echo chambers. And so we explored other issues related to immigration with this group later tonight. I ask them, people who live there on the U.S./Mexico border, about President Trump's proposed border wall. Do they think it will be effective, and who's going to fit this estimated $20 billion bill. You don't want to miss that conversation here at 8:00 p.m. eastern in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Still ahead this hour, after the Parkland school shooting, many corporations ended partnerships with the NRA. But now one of those companies, Delta, is being punished for their decision by lawmakers from its home state of Georgia. So what does this say about the power of the gun group over Republican lawmakers in the U.S.? We will discuss next.


[16:43:19] CABRERA: The President's stance on gun laws has been difficult to pin down since last month's shooting ins Parkland, Florida. And he stunned members of his own party this week during a bipartisan meeting broadcast live from the White House, where President Trump broke with GOP orthodoxy and embraced some gun laws. Democrats left there saying they felt optimistic. Here's a look at one of those key moments.


TRUMP: Now, this is not a popular thing to say in terms of the NRA, but I'm saying it anyway. I'm going to have to say it. You can't buy a handgun at 18, 19, or 20. You have to wait until you are 21. You can buy the gun, the weapon used in this horrible shooting at 18. It doesn't make sense that I have to wait until I'm 21 to get a handgun but I can get this weapon at 18. I don't know. So I'm curious what you did in the bill.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We didn't address it, Mr. President.

TRUMP: You know what? Because you're afraid of the NRA.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Allow due process. No one's right to trample. But the ability to go to court, obtain an order, and then direct not only the firearms but any weapons in the possession of the individual.

TRUMP: Or might take the firearms first and then go to court. To go to court would have taken a long time. You can do exactly what you're saying, but take the guns first, go through due process second.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Talk about the bump stock issue. Senator Feinstein cares passionately about it.

TRUMP: I'm going to write it out because we can do that with an executive order. I'm doing to write the bump stock, essentially write it out. So you won't have to worry about bump stock. Shortly, that will be done.


CABRERA: Well, one conservative lawmaker called that meeting surreal and action was swift after that meeting. The NRA quickly scheduled a one-on-one meeting with the President, who now seems to be backing down from the initial considerations of raising the age limit on certain firearms.

Our next guest will soon sign a key piece of gun safety legislation in her state. The governor of Oregon, Kate Brown, is joining us now.

Thank you for being here, governor.

[16:45:15] GOV. KATE BROWN (D), OREGON: Good afternoon. Thanks for having me.

CABRERA: So the new law there in Oregon has to do with gun control restrictions and domestic violence and stalking situations. Explain why this is your state's answer.

BROWN: Well, we have taken a number of steps over the last couple of years since I became governor. The first legislation that I signed into law was the comprehensive background checks legislation. It's something that we need across the United States, a universal background check.

The second thing I signed into law is legislation that allows judges to take guns away from folks who might be a danger to themselves or others. And this legislation is closing a loophole to make sure that intimate partners, if there's a restraining order, they can't possess guns.

We know that when a gun is present in a domestic violence situation, a woman is five times more likely to get hurt. This is absolutely ridiculous that we haven't moved more quickly on this in Oregon and across the country. I'm pleased to be signing this bill into law on Monday.

CABRERA: What is your takeaway from the backlash we're seeing by state lawmakers in Georgia against Delta, one of the biggest employers in that state, all because of their pushback against the NRA?

BROWN: Look, we had a horrific shooting in Oregon at a community college campus. It devastating the families. It devastated the college. It devastated the community. We are still -- the community is still healing. My heart goes out to the families impacted. But we must take action. That's exactly what we have done at the state level. I am very proud of the companies that are doing the right thing. They are signaling to Congress. They are reacting to consumers. Congress must take action.

CABRERA: Government, it seems, rarely takes action quickly. Given what we just saw in Georgia, which I know you didn't address directly there, my question, but I think where I was wanting to comment on or have you comment on specifically was, again, how quickly this happened there. They made it happen that they could pass a tax rollback in the matter of just a few days when it came to Delta. And they got their constituency, their Republican lawmakers to take action and pass this law very quickly. What does that tell you about the power of the NRA, the fact that this state government could do something so swiftly as a result of retaliatory action?

BROWN: What it tells us is that there are many legislators across the country that are bought and paid for by the NRA. And it's absolutely ridiculous. And in Oregon, we took action responding to the concerns of Oregonians across the state. Americans across the state, across the United States, are supporting the work that companies like Dick's and Delta are doing to make sure that we keep our communities safe. And it's because Congress is not taking action to ban assault weapons, to ban bump stocks, to ban multi-capacity magazines that companies are feeling like they must take action. It's absolutely crazy. Congress needs to act. The states are doing everything we can. But unfortunately, in certain states like Georgia, they are going backwards, not forwards.

CABRERA: As you point out, states have been more successful at passing gun control policy than the federal government. Some Republicans in particular would say just let the states handle it. What do you say?

BROWN: Well, first of all, obviously, assault weapons are very easy to take across state borders. So from my perspective, there is absolutely no reason why someone would own assault weapons. I believe they should be banned at the federal level to make sure that our schools, our synagogues, our mosques, our churches are safe. And guess what? Americans agree with me. That's why it's appalling that Congress is not willing to take action.

What is different between Congress and the students from Parkland, Florida, is the students at Parkland, Florida, are not bought and paid for by the NRA.

CABRERA: Governor Kate Brown from Oregon, thank you so much.

BROWN: Thank you.

CABRERA: Moments ago, President Trump and the first lady Melania Trump arrived at joint base Andrews. They are returning from Mar-a- Lago today, from their weekend there. We know he spent some time on the golf course today, and tonight they have the gridiron fund-raiser in Washington. We will continue to cover what their movements are.

Meantime here in the NEWSROOM, an incredible rescue of a snowboarder buried alive by an avalanche, all caught on tape. Details ahead.


[16:54:35] CABRERA: A frightening moments after an avalanche hits a California ski resort. Rescuers using their bare hands to help dig the man out buried by snow. The only clue to his location, a tip of his snowboard was apparently poking through the piles of snow. Look at this. One first responder says the lips were blue when they uncovered his face.


JOSEPH BREAUIT, HELPED RESCUE BURIED MAN: And he opened up his eyes. And he is looking right at me. He says where's my wife?

(END VIDEO CLIP) [16:55:02] CABRERA: Incredible. Police say five people were hit by this avalanche, leaving one seriously injured. That man's wife apparently was unharmed.

Coming up, chaos at the White House again. The President losing one of his closest confidantes, reportedly floating firing his children from the White House, and to top it all off, he Is leaving members of his own party reeling after his comments on guns. More on the wild week next.


[16:59:42] CABRERA: I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

And a terrifying few minutes at the White House earlier today. Gunfire erupting in a crowd of people right outside the fence surrounding the Presidential mansion.


CABRERA: Police officers and secret service agents all rushed to the scene. They found a man dead. It appears he killed himself after firing several shots. Making this even more frightening. Dozens of people were all there nearby gathered in this spot just a few feet from the --